Friday, March 16, 2018

Mismanaged Montgomery County finances end up in the red again with $200,000,000 budget shortfall

Regular readers of this website know that Montgomery County government is stuck in a structural budget deficit as far out as the projections go. So those folks won't be surprised at all to find out that their incompetent and spendthrift County Council managed to yet again spend more than they took in - way more. The budget shortfall heading into the FY-2019 budget process is a whopping $200,000,000.

County Executive Ike Leggett released his proposed budget yesterday, and it includes not a dime of tax relief for residents now paying the highest taxes in County history. No property tax cut, no energy tax cut - not even a rain tax cut! Property taxes will increase automatically; unless the County Council changes Leggett's proposed tax rate, you will be guaranteed to have a higher property tax bill.

Happy Tax Paying from Montgomery County!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Suspect in custody after Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village burglary-armed robbery rampage

Montgomery County police have arrested a man in connection with a spree of burglaries and armed robberies in the Gaithersburg area. Anthony Paul Mackie, 27, of "an unconfirmed address," has been charged with committing three commercial armed robberies and ten commercial burglaries in the Derwood, Gaithersburg, and Montgomery Village areas between December 2, 2017, and March 3, 2018.

Officers nabbed Mackie around 5:40 AM on March 3, as he allegedly was attempting to burglarize Redmill Beer and Wine - his alleged effort to victimize the store for a third time in two months. He is currently being held without bond. Here is Mackie's alleged rap sheet from the rampage, according to detectives who have put the pieces together:

  • December 2 and December 25, 2017, burglaries of the Verizon store located at 7250 Muncaster Road in Derwood.
  • January 23, Mackie robbed the Redmill Beer and Wine store located at 7248 Muncaster Mill Road. Mackie threatened an employee with a knife and obtained an undisclosed amount of currency.
  • On February 6, Mackie attempted to rob the B & B Beer & Wine store located at 8403 Snouffer School Road. Mackie threatened an employee with a knife and fled from the store without obtaining any currency.
  • On February 7, Mackie robbed the 7-Eleven store located at 17701 Muncaster Road. Mackie threatened an employee with knife and obtained an undisclosed amount of currency and fled from the store.
  • February 24, burglary of the Biscotti Restaurant located at 7212 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
  • February 27, burglary of the Redmill Beer and Wine store located at 7248 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
  • February 27, burglary of the Ferguson plumbing supply store located at 19320 Woodfield Road in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Kim Airpark Auto Repair located at 7605 Airpark Road in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Tony’s Corvette Shop located at 7500 Rickenbacker Drive in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Goshen Nails located at 20215 Goshen Road in Montgomery Village.
  • February 27, burglary of the the McDonald’s restaurant located at 9100 Rothbury Road in Montgomery Village.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Gaithersburg police station heading toward approval tonight

The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will review the plans for the new Gaithersburg police station and municipal building at 16 South Summit Avenue. City staff are recommending approval of the plan, which will require a waiver for a 6-8' fence that will separate the police parking lot from the adjacent parochial school gym.
Site plan for new municipal center;
police station in red at bottom left
Staff are also recommending approval of a waiver that would allow the width of the parking lot's drive aisles to be reduced by two feet. The main portion of the project will refurbish a vacant office building on the property into the new City Council chambers and government offices. An outbuilding will hold the new police station.
Views of new police station

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hogan warns residents of extreme winds today, 28 outages already reported across MoCo

“I urge all Marylanders to 
take this severe weather
 very seriously and 
prepare now” 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued a statement warning residents to be prepared for extreme wind gusts up to 70 MPH today. “I urge all Marylanders to take this severe weather very seriously and prepare now,” Hogan said in an urgent message from Reisterstown. “These wind speeds have the potential of causing power outages and creating hazardous conditions for travel and being outdoors starting Friday morning. Be sure to check on your family, friends, and neighbors so that we all are prepared for this rare and potentially very dangerous weather event.”

Hogan advised residents to avoid traveling this morning, never to run a generator indoors, and to not leave pets outdoors today. High winds are expected to fell many trees and cause major power outages across the state. There have already been 28 reports of power outages across Montgomery County as of early this morning.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

MoCo drops ball again, loses out on Fannie Mae, Wilcoxon jobs

Montgomery County took it on the chin again Wednesday, as our elected officials continue to fumble the ball on economic development. High-tech manufacturer Wilcoxon announced it is moving its Germantown facility - and its 100 jobs - to Frederick. In a statement, Wilcoxon President Dr. Christopher McLean cited Frederick and Frederick County's "manufacturing-friendly taxes and [the] simplified permitting process that exists in both jurisdictions" as major factors in the move.

McLean also noted the quick access to three major highways, key to a manufacturer, and that "8435 Progress Drive provides a lower cost of ownership than our previous [Montgomery County] facility, and we can remain close to Washington, D.C. and three major airports." "Whenever you can attract 100 tech jobs, especially filling 45,000 square feet of space, it’s a great opportunity for the city," Frederick's Director of Economic Development Richard Griffin said, according to the Frederick News Post.

This was yet another clear example of our draconian taxes, red tape regulations and poor business climate costing us jobs and tax revenue.

But it got worse: Fannie Mae announced it has leased a whopping 850000 SF at Boston Properties' Reston Gateway, and will be the anchor tenant there. Tons of jobs will move into the site in 2022, Boston Properties said in a press release, bringing more revenue and business foot traffic for Virginia.

How did this happen? We have a County Council clueless about how the world of international business works in 2018. They are ideologically-opposed to making the common sense changes in taxes and regulations, and building the necessary transportation infrastructure, needed to make Montgomery County competitive in the region again.

Look no further than the Council's brainless decision to loudly broadcast they intend to cancel funding for the Montrose Parkway East. The Council, at least in public, claims they want Amazon to choose the Pike District for its HQ 2.

What better way to impress a logistics company like Amazon, than to announce you are canceling the main infrastructure project near their potential headquarters, right?

It's amateur hour at 100 Maryland Avenue again, folks!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dave & Buster's to open at RIO/Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg

After losing its original Dave & Buster's when the owners of White Flint Mall pulled the plug on the popular shopping and dining destination, Montgomery County will end up with two of the all-ages arcade, dining and entertainment megacenters. The newest will be at the RIO/Washingtonian Center off Sam Eig Highway and I-270 in Gaithersburg.

Dave & Buster's will take over the vacant health club suite in the building that also houses the AMC Theatres at RIO. Their 39000 SF space is expected to open in 2019.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Patricia Fenati launches campaign for District 14 delegate

Patricia Fenati, a resident of Damascus, launched her campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates from District 14 last night at Argyle Country Club. District 14 covers the northeastern area of Montgomery County from Damascus to Burtonsville, and includes Calverton, Clarksburg, Colesville, Cloverly, Fairland, Olney, Ashton, Sandy Spring, Brookeville and Laytonsville.

Fenati pledged to focus on ending gerrymandering of voting districts in the state and county, job creation, education, and the environment. She noted that the current district boundaries give some communities in District 14 very little say in the outcome of elections for County Council and the General Assembly. Fenati also supports the transportation plan proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan, which would greatly rely on private, rather than taxpayer, funds to accomplish.

No other Republicans have filed for the District 14 delegate race as of this morning. On the Democratic side, only three candidates have filed - Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, and Pamela Queen.

Photo courtesy Patricia Fenati